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Our Wonderful Instructors!
We are so excited to feature Jennifer at Dances With Wool! She teaches knitting and crocheting classes. Here is the bio from her website, tinkingturtle.com:
I got my start teaching 8-13 year old campers to knit and crochet when I was 16 years old. I’ve been teaching, in different ways, since then. I like to figure out different ways to break down techniques to teach people in different ways. I have a genuine joy for teaching, and I like knowing that students walk away satisfied and enlightened.
I am a high energy teacher, with a ready sense of humor. Understanding that not all people learn the same way, my teaching style includes handouts, broken down instructions, and abundant examples.
While my goal is always for my students to have fun and walk away from a class with a finished object, my focus relies on education as the primary component of my classes. I want my students to be able to walk away being able to replicate the skills they have learned so they can take them into their next project.
I often include samples that demonstrate each step of a project. I believe that everyone enjoys praise and positive feedback, and my classes are created with achievable goals.
As a liberal arts student, I realize that learning does not end with a class, and I adapt my curriculum as I learn new skills.
Sandy is another awesome addition to our teaching team!
As a young child, while on vacation with her family, Sandy observed an elderly woman knitting. She decided to learn this dance. Borrowing several knitting books from the library, Sandy begged her parents to buy her yarn and needles. Days passed, and still no needles and yarn. Undeterred and impatient to begin, Sandy went down to her father's workshop and found two old dowel rods and a ball of twine. She sharpened the dowels with a pencil sharpener, opened one of the knitting books, and proceeded to teach herself the basics of knitting. A lifelong love and obsession with all things knitted was born that day.
Combining her background in special education teaching and love of knitting, Sandy brings over forty years of knitting experience and a passion for teaching new knitting techniques and tips to each of her classes. A certified knitting instructor by the Yarn Council of America, Sandy teaches knitting classes in the Richmond, Virginia area and is a knitting tech editor and test/sample knitter for several top knitting designers. The best part of teaching for Sandy is seeing that "Aha" moment in her students' eyes!
Meet Penelope, another wonderful crochet teacher that has joined our teaching staff. Penelope also offers private crochet lessons.
Penelope’s grandmother (Yiayia) crocheted every day and taught her how to crochet when she was young. Three years ago, Penelope was given her Yiayia’s crochet hooks by her aunt. With these “Yiayia’s Hooks,” she renewed her interest in yarn art. Crocheting has become like meditating for her - a great way to relax. Now that her sons are both away at college, she has found time to crochet with the slower pace of life at home. Penelope enjoys making gifts for friends and family, and is especially fond of making shawls. She enjoys challenging herself with new crochet techniques and stitches.
Penelope is an early childhood special education teacher. Her goal in teaching crochet is to make it easy and accessible and hopes others will find the same joy, relaxation and fulfillment from crocheting as she does
Kristina Parker is another experienced teacher who has joined our teaching staff. She offers private lessons as well as classes.
At the tender age of 8, when most girls were rushing home from school to race through homework and play with friends, Kristina was walking to the library. She found adventure and knowledge in the endless shelves of books and could often be found tucked into a corner with several books at her disposal. Day after day, month after month, she would walk into that Milford, NH library, backpack in hand, thirsting for knowledge. After a few months, the librarians put her to work, putting books away, rearranging sections and updating the card catalog. In lieu of payment, the library let her take any classes they offered, free of charge. So she learned to cross stitch and sew, she learned basket weaving and all about Laura Ingalls Wilder. While she wasn’t great at any of it, she loved the comradery of crafters and artisans, that a loner child could walk into a room and instantly be welcome, was bliss. One day it happened, she found her love of all things fiber. It was a snowy afternoon when Kristina was handed a skein of Christmas Red, Red Heart yarn and long size US10 needles. Those needles twacked her ribs and elbows as she worked, but she didn’t mind. She learned a backward loop cast on and the simple knit stitch that day, and all was right with the world. It would be a year before she learned to purl and bind off from her left handed Grandmother, and several years before she could read a pattern, but the simple joy of knitting was part of her soul. Kristina’s mother taught her to crochet when she was 13, and the love expanded. In her early 30’s she learned to spin and weave and started a fiber business. Now, almost 30 years after that afternoon in the library she shares all the knowledge she has, to anyone that wants to learn. Kristina believes that everyone needs a creative outlet for their own mental health. Something that lets the imagination flow and keeps the hands busy. Something tangible where someone can beam with pride and say “I made that”.
Jenna caught the knitting bug one day, more than 30 years ago, waiting in line in a grocery store when she spotted a copy of Family Circle (or maybe it was Better Homes & Garden), which had a beautiful seed stitch cardigan sweater. “That was it, I just had to knit it. I can’t remember where I got the supplies, but based on the pictures in the magazine, a sweater was born. One I can still wear today.” Some say teaching oneself how to knit a sweater that would likely have been labeled intermediate to advanced was a challenge not to be taken, but I had no one to tell me I couldn’t do it – not even myself.” It is that attitude of fearlessness that Jenna wants to impart to her students.
Colorwork, such as fair Isle and brioche is some of Jenna’s favorite work. She is also madly in love with entrelac, or projects involving unusual construction. In a class, you can experience so many different elements of knitting and find what you love to create. Jenna’s teaching style is driven by showing you how to make decisions about projects, how to execute them well and really nail down a technique. Most classes will cover pattern reading, how to make modifications and how to hit the “easy” button – even if the project is hard.